Weekend Warm-Up: Shelter

Shelter is a basic human need. It keeps you warm, protects from the elements and wraps you up in a bubble of your comforts. But what happens when we get too comfortable, when we forget about the larger world beyond?

Now more than ever, we have seen our Earth bearing the consequences of our actions, in the worst ways. The Alps are no exception. With the region’s snow season shrinking and glaciers melting rapidly, five intrepid sportsmen take to the peaks while minimizing their individual carbon footprints. 

Screenshot from the film. Photo: Shelter


Even though snowboarding and skiing are human-powered, they still have a carbon footprint. Planes, helicopters, car rides, and fancy resort accommodations to and from the slopes add up. Easily. These snowboarders and skiers have chosen to change their travel habits in small ways, ignoring the minor inconveniences.

Small gestures

Carpooling, sleeping in their own vans, staying in isolated cabins with minimal heat, collecting water, and using snow for cooking are just some of the practices they implemented on their two-month trip. As they traveled this way, they became more conscious of what they left behind — whether trash, the amount of electricity they used, the noise they made, or their impact on the mountain’s stability. 

These small mountainside cabins see thousands of snowboarders annually.  The owners and caretakers are quite strict with their environmental policies and encourage visitors to do the same. At the dinner table, they discussed the problems of today’s ski resort culture and brainstormed how it can change. They also found ways to improve their habits.

Each adventurer has his own way of caring for nature. Mat Schaer, who started this initiative, and his colleague Levi Luggen reach their adventures only through public transport. Jeremy Jones has started a non-profit organization to rally winter athletes against climate change. Thomas Delfino built himself a bioclimatic house.

This little group has shown that you don’t have to be in the field of academia or the head of a global movement to do your part to help preserve what we take for granted every day, humanity’s ultimate shelter — planet Earth.